Let’s be honest, no one enjoys sitting in a waiting room, but it’s something we all have to do at some point.
You may not give your waiting room much thought, but your patients certainly do. Patients often form their first impression of a practice in the waiting room or reception area. It’s important to ensure that your patients feel comfortable and welcomed while waiting for their appointment. Patients’ perception of their time in the reception area often affects their opinion of their overall experience.
Here are a few tips to help you design a patient friendly waiting area:
Show Patients You Value Their Time.
Providing free wi-fi should be a given. But don’t stop there. Provide a communal work area and charging station. A lot of patients are missing work to see you.
Have a Variety of Seating Options.
In addition to having an area for professionals who want to work, have small clusters of seating arrangements, such as chairs around a coffee table or a small couch tucked away in a quiet reading nook. It’s also a good idea to have a child-friendly area where parents can keep their children entertained.
Pay Attention to Traffic.
When planning the layout of your waiting area, you want your patients to have a clear understanding of where they should go to check-in. Your reception desk should be the focal point and easily viewed and accessible from the entrance. Arrange seating to where traffic is free flowing and doesn’t bottleneck too close to where other patients that have already checked in are seated.
Toss Out the Old Magazines.
Rather than have a plethora of random, worn magazines floating around, add a number of coffee table books that about general interests, such as pets or travel.
Keep it Calm.
The colors you choose are just as important as the comfort of the furniture. Colors can influence people’s moods and emotions. For example; Blue denotes honesty, loyalty, and security while green is calming. Artwork of landscapes can help compensate for no windows or drab views of the parking lot.
It’s All About the Ambiance.
What they hear is just as important as what they see. Adding a fountain or a well-maintained aquarium to your waiting room adds a calming ambiance.
Many waiting rooms have T.V’s which is okay, but maybe not everyone wants to watch while they wait. If you have a television in your waiting area, opt to turn the volume down and have the closed caption on. This way patients can enjoy what’s on the TV without disturbing those who are spending their wait time doing something else.
Patients may not choose your practice based on your waiting area, but it will have a lasting effect on their memory of their time with you. If a patient’s’ first impression of your practice is a good one, they’re sure to spread the word!